a) Poll position: on the delay in drafting the Cauvery scheme

The Centre’s excuse for being unable to submit a draft scheme on the Cauvery issue is so poor that it will convince nobody. That it was extremely reluctant to take a decision which could have electoral repercussions in Karnataka, which goes to the polls on May 12, is well known. But the Attorney General’s explanation that the draft scheme could not be readied because the Prime Minister and other ministers were busy “travelling” in Karnataka is laughable.

While the world of politics is sometimes ruled more by expediency than law, the Centre has cut a sorry figure by admitting in court that its leaders are too preoccupied with an election campaign to fulfil a court directive — one over which it could be punished for contempt. That the Attorney General asked for the contempt petition to be taken up a day after the Karnataka election gives the game away. There are several reasons why the Centre’s stand is legally untenable and morally wrong. First and foremost, the framing of a scheme to implement a river water tribunal’s award is the Centre’s statutory obligation, and it is not open to the government to weigh its political or electoral implications in the face of such a deadline.

Besides, the plea that the Prime Minister and the Union Minister concerned were unavailable is questionable — a day before the submission was made, the Cabinet had met and announced important decisions. In its verdict on February 16, 2018, the apex court granted six weeks’ time to the Centre for framing the scheme. It added for good measure that no extension of time would be granted on any ground. Yet, on the eve of the expiry of the deadline, the Union government chose to file an application seeking three more months.

Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition. In its application for more time, the Centre had mentioned that it had convened a meeting of representatives of the four States and had also cited the differences of opinion among the States over the composition of the proposed mechanism. There was at least a ring of truth to this, given that consulting the parties over the composition of the scheme was necessary to frame it. Even then, the Supreme Court was unimpressed; it had asked the Centre to prove its bona fides by submitting a draft scheme on May 3.

That it not only failed to do so, but also chose to cite the Prime Minister’s preoccupation with the campaign is bound to raise questions about its commitment to impartial governance and its disdain for judicial orders. The Centre’s attitude suggests that it hopes to persuade the court that a degree of political expediency in the light of the election is normal and acceptable. Clearly, it is not as keen on proving its own bona fides as it is on improving its prospects in Karnataka.

b) Raising fences: on the plight of Britons of West Indies origin

The scandal over the targeting of Britons of Caribbean origin is the latest twist in Europe’s recent politics over immigration, denting the continent’s image as being open, liberal and tolerant. The development comes at an awkward moment for London, which hopes to negotiate trade agreements with the countries of the British Commonwealth as it withdraws from the European Union. The Windrush generation, named after one of the many vessels that ferried some half a million people from the Caribbean islands to the U.K. in the late 1940s, has fallen victim to a ruthless policy that stipulates annual net immigration objectives.

In its wake, people with cultural links to the region but who have lived all their lives in the U.K. are having to provide proof of residence for every year of their stay of up to 60-70 years. Inability to furnish such evidence has been met with job losses, threat of deportation, withdrawal of welfare benefits and even denial of critical medical care. For Britons of West Indies origin, the enormous emotional trauma of being regarded as aliens in a country that had invited their families to rebuild its economy must be hard enough to endure. Knowledge that they are at the receiving end of a policy devised by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was in charge of the Home Office only adds to their anxiety. In the event, Ms. May’s apology to the heads of Commonwealth governments over the mistreatment of people from Britain’s former colonies, and the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary, brought too little comfort and too late.

The Windrush saga is a reminder of the grotesque response from some central European governments in 2015 to prevent desperate Syrian migrants from entering their territory. It is arguable whether the debate over the so-called illegal immigration across the industrialised world has focussed attention on systemic shortcomings and genuine violations. But surely, the controversy has typified the inability of governments to manage the political fallout from the current phase of globalisation and trade liberalisation.

This is especially true of the EU, which has enshrined the free movement of people as a fundamental principle. Consequently, the 2004 expansion of the bloc into the countries of the erstwhile Soviet Union afforded nations in Western Europe cheap immigrant labour and compliance with better standards. But the process also gave a fillip to xenophobic parties of the extreme right across the region, threatening to halt immigration. Similarly, populist parties in Britain fuelled public anger over the dynamics of closer integration to target EU migrants during the 2016 referendum. The country’s two mainstream parties, although committed to remaining in the bloc, could hardly counter the trend. The lessons from the Windrush scandal are too fundamental to miss.


1) Reluctant

Meaning: Unwilling and hesitant; disinclined.

Example: “today, many ordinary people are still reluctant to talk about politics”

Synonyms: Unwilling, Grudging

Antonyms: Willing, Eager

2) Repercussions

Meaning: An unintended consequence of an event or action, especially an unwelcome one.

Example: “the move would have grave repercussions for the entire region”

Synonyms: Consequence, Effect

3) Expediency

Meaning: The quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.

Example: “an act of political expediency”

Synonyms: Convenience, Advantage

Antonyms: Disadvantage

4) Cut a sorry figure

Meaning: To be ashamed.

Example: She cut a sorry figure in his maiden speech.

5) Preoccupied

Meaning: (of a matter or subject) dominate or engross the mind of (someone) to the exclusion of other thoughts.

Example: “his mother was preoccupied with paying the bills”

Synonyms: Concerned

6) Contempt

Meaning: Behaviour that is illegal because it does not obey or respect the rules of a law court.

Example: The tobacco companies may be guilty of contempt of court for refusing to produce the documents.

7) Gives the game away

Meaning: To spoil a surprise or a joke by telling someone something that should have been kept secret.

Example: It’s a secret, so don’t give the game away, will you?

Synonyms: Revealing secrets, Becoming known

8) Untenable

Meaning: (especially of a position or view) not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection.

Example: “this argument is clearly untenable”

Synonyms: Unarguable, Flawed

Antonyms: Tenable, Defensible

9) Obligation

Meaning: The condition of being morally or legally bound to do something.

Example: “they are under no obligation to stick to the scheme”

10) Weigh

Meaning: To carefully consider, especially by comparing facts or possibilities, in order to make a decision.

Example: Economic benefits must be carefully weighed against the possible dangers of handling radioactive waste.

11) A ring of truth

Meaning: To seem to be true.

Example: This story has the ring of truth.

Synonyms: True, Real

Antonyms: False, Unreal

12) Preoccupation

Meaning: The state or condition of being preoccupied or engrossed with something.

Example: “his preoccupation with politics”

Synonyms: Concentration, Absorption

13) Disdain

Meaning: The feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect.

Example: “her upper lip curled in disdain”

Synonyms: Contempt, Scorn

Antonyms: Admiration, Respect

14) Persuade

Meaning: To cause people to do or believe something, esp. by explaining why they should.

Example: The government is trying to persuade consumers to save more.

15) Expediency

Meaning: The quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.

Example: “an act of political expediency”

Synonyms: Convenience, Advantage

Antonyms: Disadvantage

16) Caribbean

Meaning: The islands and countries in and around the Caribbean Sea.

Example: They’re holidaying somewhere in the Caribbean.

17) Denting

Meaning: Have an adverse effect on; diminish.

Example: “this neither deterred him nor dented his enthusiasm”

Synonyms: Diminish, Reduce

Antonyms: Increase

18) Awkward

Meaning: Causing inconvenience, anxiety, or embarrassment.

Example: It was an awkward situation, because the restaurant was too expensive for us but we didn’t want to just get up and walk out.

Synonyms: Difficult, Unpleasant

Antonyms: Relaxed, Easy

19) Ferried

Meaning: Transport from one place to another on short or regular trips.

Example: “ambulances ferried the injured to hospital”

20) Ruthless

Meaning: Having or showing no pity or compassion for others.

Example: “a ruthless manipulator”

Synonyms: Merciless, Cruel

Antonyms: Gentle, Compassionate

21) Stipulates

Meaning: Demand or specify (a requirement), typically as part of an agreement.

Example: “he stipulated certain conditions before their marriage”

Synonyms: Specify, Demand

22) Furnish

Meaning: To supply or provide something needed.

Example: Jeanne’s catering company furnished all the food for the party.

Synonyms: Provide, Supply

Antonyms: Divest

23) Trauma

Meaning: Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis.

Example: “the event is relived with all the accompanying trauma”

Synonyms: Shock, Distress

24) Endure

Meaning: To continue to exist for a long time.

Example: The political system established in 1400 endured until about 1650.

Synonyms: Continue, Persist

Antonyms: Fade, Short-lived

25) Devised

Meaning: Plan or invent (a complex procedure, system, or mechanism) by careful thought.

Example: “a training programme should be devised”

Synonyms: Conceive, Frame

26) Anxiety

Meaning: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

Example: “he felt a surge of anxiety”

Synonyms: Worry, Concern

Antonyms: Calmness, Serenity

27) Grotesque

Meaning: Strange and unpleasant, especially in a silly or slightly frightening way.

Example:Gothic churches are full of devils and grotesque figures.”

Synonyms: Serious, Unpleasant

28) Desperate

Meaning: (of a situation) extremely serious or dangerous.

Example: “there is a desperate shortage of teachers”

Synonyms: Serious, Dangerous

29) So-called

Meaning: Used to show that something or someone is commonly designated by the name or term specified.

Example: “Western Countries belonging to the so-called Paris club”

Synonyms: Ostensible, Pretend

30) Industrialised

Meaning: Develop industries in (a country or region) on a wide scale.

Example: “the industrialized nations”

31) Controversy

Meaning: Prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion.

Example: “the design of the building has caused controversy”

Synonyms: Disagreement, Dispute

Antonyms: Agreement, Accord

32) Typified

Meaning: Be characteristic or a representative example of.

Example: “tough, low-lying vegetation typifies this arctic area”

Synonyms: Epitomize, Exemplify

33) Fallout

Meaning: The unpleasant results or effects of an action or event:

Example: The political fallout of the revelations has been immense.

34) Liberalisation

Meaning: The removal or loosening of restrictions on something, typically an economic or political system.

Example: “the government’s policy of economic liberalization”

35) Enshrined

Meaning: Preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected.

Example: “the right of all workers to strike was enshrined in the new constitution”

Synonyms: Express, Realize

36) Bloc

Meaning: A group of countries or political parties with common interests who have formed an alliance.

Example: “the Soviet bloc”

Synonyms: Alliance, Association

37) Xenophobic

Meaning: Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Example: “racism and xenophobia are steadily growing in Europe”

Synonyms: Racism, Racialism

38) Threatening

Meaning: Having a hostile or deliberately frightening quality or manner.

Example: “her mother had received a threatening letter”

Synonyms: Menacing, Scary

39) Fuelled

Meaning: Sustain or inflame (an intense feeling).

Example: “his resignation fuelled speculation of an imminent cabinet reshuffle”

Synonyms: Stimulate, Intensify

Antonyms: Dampen

40) Referendum

Meaning: A general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.

Example: “he called for a referendum on the death penalty”

Synonyms: Popular vote, Poll

Want to learn more, Check the Previous Day of THE HINDU EDITORIAL which was published in our Bankersdaily and learn new words to enhance your Vocabulary.


Aspirants can also check the previous month THE HINDU EDITORIAL and can improve the vocabulary list & can ace the exams. Learning the language is easy and this will make the process simple.